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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Peanut Allergies on the Rise

What You Need To Know About Peanut Allergy?
Peanut allergy is a type of food allergy. Peanuts are one of the world’s most allergenic foods.

More than 1.5 million people in the US are affected with peanut allergy.

A peanut allergy is an allergy that is caused by the body’s reaction to particular substances. This is a life threatening allergy reaction.

Cause of peanut allergy:

*The most common cause of peanut allergy is direct contact with peanuts. This means while eating or touching peanuts can cause allergies.
*The other cause of peanut allergy is, when you inhale dust containing peanuts.
*The rarest case in which you can acquire peanut allergy is, during processing or handling of a food product which consists of peanuts.
*Peanut allergy is caused by the overreaction of the immune system. Immune system considers peanuts as the harmful substances and leads to the production of immunoglobulin E antibodies. These antibodies produce histamines which causes allergic reactions to occur.

Common food sources which contain peanut proteins include:

*Salad dressing
*Cereals and granola
*Pecans and walnuts
*Soy products
*Ground nuts
*Frozen desserts
*Peanut butter
*Baked food such as pastries
*Artificial tree nuts
*Asian foods such as Chinese foods
*Sunflower seeds
*peanut oils
*Beer nuts and peanut brittle
*Sauce made with nuts

Symptoms of peanut allergy:

*Peanut allergy symptoms are mild but in some cases they can become more severe. Allergic reaction appears immediately or a few hours after you ate.

*The first symptoms that you face are runny nose, an itchy skin rash such as hives, or stinging in the tongue or lips.

*The other symptoms of peanut allergy include:
-Stomach pain
-Sore throat
-Atopic dermatitis
-Urticaria or hives
-Anaphylactic shock
-Swelling of the digestive tracts
-Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
-Sudden fatigue and rapid heartbeat
-Loss of consciousness, coma or death

Diagnosis of peanut allergy:

*Doctors will conduct the physical examination to identify the main problem.
*In some cases tests like skin test and blood test are also essential to identify the problem.
*In skin test your skin is pricked and exposed to small amounts of proteins found in peanuts to see if you have a skin test response.
*In blood test, your immune system response to peanuts is tested. It measures the amount of antibodies such as IgE in your blood.

Treatment for peanut allergy:

*There are no special medications for peanut allergy. The best treatment is simply to avoid exposure to peanuts and peanut proteins directly or indirectly.
*Avoid foods that made with peanut oil.
*Avoid cakes and pastries with unknown ingredients, especially carrot cake, pumpkin cake and fruits and nut rolls.
*Be careful with what you are eating and drinking. All food labels, cosmetics, creams and ointments should be read.
*Medications, such as antihistamines help to reduce peanut allergy.
*If you have severe reactions, you may need to take epinephrine with consultation of doctor.

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